Employee relations can be seen primarily as policies, norms, and practices governing the management and the regulations of the relationships between the organization, staff and the subordinate staff within a given working environment. Ensuring high productivity and employees’ motivation, employee relations as a part of the HR department are management functions responsible for liaising with employee representative bodies developing proposals and monitoring procedures.
Employees Engagement in Strategic HRM
The employees’ engagement can be defined as the dedication and the commitment aimed at increasing the productivity of the organization and advancing its interests in the short and long term. Implementing effective Human Resource practices/programs to achieve maximum returns can be reached through employees’ satisfaction, feeling of security and disclosure of the employees’ potential. Accordingly, employee engagement can be described as a composition of obligations “organizational citizenship”.(CIPD) Since human capital is one of the main assets of an organization, it is therefore important for the HR department to ensure that strategic plans are correctly implemented to give meaningful duties to the staff, which are geared towards the organization’s strategic objectives.
Another critical factor in employees’ engagement is employees’ compensation and benefits. This factor can be explained in that employees who received fair compensation are more likely to work more effectively, and at the same time allowing the company to keep high retention rates. Consequently, compensation is an essential component in enhancing job satisfaction. (Obringer) Enhancing employees’ engagement, it is essential to have a clear and well-defined job description, as by giving the duties and responsibilities expected from an individual employee, the overall organizational and individual effectiveness and efficiency will be improved.
Employee Performance and Documentation
As organizations incline toward making difficult decisions about retaining employees in performance issues, the organizations need to realize the necessity of fair and equitable employee performance documentation, and its implementation in collection exercises. Although an employee could be making a positive contribution to the organization, documenting his/her performance is necessary for the HR department in times of promotion, transfers, wage and salary administration. Another contributing factor of employees’ documentation is their necessity for the organization to assess the training needs of the employees, and the general evaluation of their performance (Goliath).
Moreover, since the performance evaluation of the workers can be often frustrating and time-consuming, a critical analysis on such evaluation should be taken as a vital tool in maintaining the organization’s professionalism due to the demands for quality, efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, employers might not want to terminate employment without having full written records or documents of the employees’ performance in the organization. For instance, in case the employee takes the matter to court for unlawful contract termination, the employer will need to provide the documentation as a defense, proving the validity of such termination.
Furthermore, the documentation is an important aspect when making decisions concerning employers’ liability, since the employer is in a better position if the complaint is taken to court, and there is documentation of the employer’s engagement in the ongoing communications about employees’ performance problems, setting high expectations for the employees. Another factor for having documentation of performance issues is to enable managers to monitor, to ensure whether managers have been proactive in dealing with underperforming employees. This procedure is necessary to inspect whether the problems were well communicated, as well as the managers’ initiative in attempting to solve those problems.
In case of discrimination, written documentation of performance issues, and the existent communication regarding those issues would make a legal explanation of the basis of that particular employee’s treatment. Therefore, employers need to contact the Human Resource Department or a legal consultancy firm before terminating an employee’s contract.
Whistleblowers and Complaint System
Whistleblowers might refer to the current or former employees, clients or customers, as well as the organization’s executives who give publicity to the observable or prospective facts of infringement of the law, in an attempt to do what they think or perceive to be the right thing. Such complaints have an advantage, and frequently they are based on unestablished motives, which exaggerate events and manipulate the facts to the benefit of the undisclosed person (CMD Source Watch).
Moreover, sexual harassment, fraud, job security and other important areas concerning whistleblower complaints, should be addressed in the organization, since some laws have given a priority to particular procedures, which allow these complaints to be channeled through, while other laws allow the investigations of claims and the protection of the whistleblowers from exploitation. Since such practice has been increasing at an alarming rate, some procedures were dedicated to handling the whistleblower complaints, i.e. the establishment of clear complaint channels, basic internal investigation procedures, and investigation committee, as well as developing appropriate educational and training programs for the managers. In that sense, executives should be trained to deal with such employees, who report alleged misconduct, and to handle sensitive situations that might give rise to whistle-blowing claims.
The risk of whistleblowers’ liability can be minimized by implementing a proactive approach on behalf of corporate management that should anticipate the receipts of reports from actual or potential whistleblowers. Further applicable measures might include establishing well-defined and published procedures for receiving and investigating such reports, and the identification of liable corporate executives and advisors who can examine and evaluate the results and propose possible solutions.
Additionally, reducing the risk associated with whistleblower claims and complaints, the organization should ensure that all subsidiary companies, both foreign and domestic, should have well-publicized policies and procedures which are readily accessible (Niznik). Supplementary measures for reducing risk might also include developing training programs and documenting performance deficiencies, in case a whistleblower raises a claim or a complaint.
The information about the work’s vital resources is very critical, where the desired effect might have an adverse impact, in case the employees do not acknowledge, understand or assess the organization’s available resources. Therefore, clear channels of communication should be established along with adopting new systems to raise the employees’ awareness of the organization’s resources, improving efficiency, effectiveness and consequently the overall productivity of the organization
Since informational technologies are constantly changing, the organization should be able to adapt to the new changes accordingly.
Unions are independent formations set to defend and promote the employees’ rights in the organization. The role of unions might include “negotiating with employers about the pay and conditions under which its members work”, as well as providing legal consultations and financial help. (Business Link) The role of the organization in that context is to form and regulate the labor laws to ensure conformity with any existing labor tribunals, and organizations, where it can be seen that recent union agreements “tend to emphasize mutual interests rather than adversarial bargaining” (Business Link).
It can be seen that employee relation issues in the context of HRM, consist of many critical factors that can affect the organization as a whole. In that sense, these issues should not be addressed separately, as they are interconnected and form uniformed set of responsibilities that HRM should handle. Despite of the difficulty and the complexity of some of the situations related to employee relations issue encountered by the organization, experienced human resource professionals and managers should be able to find solutions, as well as implementing preventive measures regarding such situations.
- Barrie Gross. Documentation of Employees Performance Issues.
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